In Holy Land, Pope Francis will focus on unity, not ignore conflict
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- On Pope Francis' first trip to the Holy Land, May 24-26, his agenda will focus on the search for Christian unity, particularly between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. But inevitably, in a region so rich in history and so fraught with conflict, he will address other urgent issues, including dialogue with Jews and Muslims, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the plight of the Middle East's shrinking Christian population.
The Vatican has emphasized that the pope's main purpose on the trip is to meet in Jerusalem with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, considered first among equals by Orthodox bishops. The official logo for the papal visit is an icon of the Apostles Peter and Andrew, patron saints of the churches of Rome and Constantinople, joined in a fraternal embrace.